Now that his bone spurs have apparently healed, Trump finally got to Vietnam. He spoke with Putin at the APEC summit in Da Nang. Departing on Air Force One, he shared his thoughts with reporters.
Eddie Scarry at The Washington Examiner:
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said: "They're political hacks. So, you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey's proven now to be a liar, and he's proven to be a leaker. So, you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine."From Axios:
Reporter: Did Russia's attempts to meddle in US elections come up in the conversations?
Trump: "He said he didn't meddle, he said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times."
Trump: "I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did."
Reporter: Do you believe him?
Trump: "Well, look, I can't stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine rather than arguing about whether or not... that whole thing was set up by the Democrats. Look at Podesta, look at all the things that they have done with the phony dossier. Those are the big events. But Putin said he did not do what they said he did. But we have a good feeling toward getting things done. If we had a relationship with Russia, that would be a good thing. In fact it would be a great thing, not a bad thing, because he could really help us on North Korea. We have a big problem with North Korea and China is helping us. And because of the lack of the relationship that we have with Russia, because of this artificial thing that's happening with this Democratic-inspired thing. We could really be helped a lot with Russia having to do with North Korea. You know you are talking about millions and millions of lives. This isn't baby stuff, this is the real deal. And if Russia helped us in addition to China, that problem would go away a lot faster."
Reporter: On election meddling, did you ask him the question?
Trump: "Every time he sees me he says I didn't do that and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says I didn't do that. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country. Because again, if we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea which is our single biggest problem right now, it would help a lot. I think they are doing very well with respect to China, they have cut off financing, they have cut off lots of oil and lots of other things, lots of trade and it's having a big impact. But Russia on the other hand may be making up the difference. And if they are, that's not a good thing. So having a relationship with Russia would be a great thing especially as it relates to North Korea."
"Hillary had her stupid reset button that she spelled the word wrong, but she does not have what it takes to have that kind of relationship where you could call or you could do something. But this is really an artificial barrier that's put in front of us for solving problems with Russia. He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn't do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn't do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he has nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine."
CIA just told me: The Dir stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) November 11, 2017